AAP Children’s Tri-State Book Buzz 2015: Event Recap Part 2

Last week I got to attend the American Association of Publisher’s Tri-State Book Buzz event. Book Buzz is an all-day event (at Random House HQ this year) where various publishers give brief presentations highlighting the new titles they will have in the upcoming publishing season (Spring 2016 in this case).

This is my attempt at a recap although there was SO much going on that I’m sure I’ll miss some good stuff. If you want to see what other people had to say about it on social media, you can check out the hashtag #BookBuzz2015 which attendees used to highlight the children’s/YA day (which I attended) as well as the adult one.


Bloomsbury Children’s Books:

  • I’ve been hearing nothing but amazingly good things about Be A Friend by Salina Yoon (January 2016) and I have to say I’ve never wanted a mime book more.
  • Mousquerade Ball (May 2016) is a rhyming counting tale from power duo Lori Mortenson and illustrator Betsy Lewin.
  • Blue in the Face: A Story of Risk, Rhyme, and Rebellion by Gerry Swallow (December 2015) is a story set in a world of fracture nursery rhymes. In this “hilarious and irreverant” tale the main character is a girl whose super power is throwing epic tantrums by holding her breath.
  • How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin (March 2016): Sometimes a genius needs to do something dumb to unwind. Like make his pet cat gigantic and invisible. Recommended for reluctant readers.
  • Carrie Jones makes her middle grade debut in Time Stoppers (May 2016) which is a start to what is being called a “whimsical and sweeping” trilogy.
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord (April 2016) needs no further introduction I am sure.
  • Burning by Danielle Rollins (April 2016) is a story about girls in a detention facility. This psychological thriller also has the BEST tagline: “Monsters are much more interesting than heroes.”
  • Printz winner Nick Lake is back with a “fresh high concept tale” set in New Jersey in Whisper to Me (May 2016) which is a summer romance told in reverse.
  • The Leaving by Tara Altebrando (June 2016) promises to be a real page turner (blurbed by E. Lockhart!) about six children who were kidnapped. And the five who came back as teens.

MICRO-TREND ALERT: Thrillers are IN right now. I would even go so far as to call this a full-on trend. Forget the micro part.

Griffin Teen, Flatiron Books, Tor Teen & Starscape:

This one was tag-teamed by two publicists so there were LOTS. OF. BOOKS.

  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (January 5, 2016): epic fantasy where the main focus is friends NOT an all-consuming romance.
  • Riders by Veronica Rossi (February 2, 2016) is a dark fantasy where the four horsemen have to save the world.
  • Character Driven by Dave Lubar (March 1, 2016) is a funny book with an unreliable narrator. And no sci-fi elements despite coming from Tor.
  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (May 6, 2016) is a high school romance with a transgender main character. The young woman on the cover is also a transgender model and I just think it’s great.
  • In American Girls by Allison Umminger (June 7, 2016) a girl runs away to LA only to have to find a job to work to earn enough to make her way back home.
  • In Real Life by Jessica Love (March 1, 2016) sounds a lot like Tonight the Streets Are Ours to me with its interplay or real life and online personas. It was also pitched as “The Hangover meets My Best Friend’s Wedding but for teens” so I really don’t know what more you need.

MICRO-TREND ALERT: Lots of stuff is being comped to The Hangover which I find oddly delightful.

  • Roshani Chokshi’s The Star-Touched Queen (May 3, 2016) is a fantasy inspired by Indian folklore.
  • The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson (May 17, 2016) is a debut that retells Much Ado About Nothing. I never did get to that play but I for one am intrigued.

HarperCollins Children’s Books:

  • I feel deeply and intensely betrayed by all of my bookish friends who never told me that Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek are married in real life. They have a new book coming called When Spring Comes (February 9, 2016) which looks lovely.
  • Pax by Sarah Pennypacker (illustrated by Jon Klassen) (February 2, 2016) is a publicist favorite about a boy and his fox.
  • Cammie McGovern makes her middle grade debut with Just My Luck (February 23, 2016) about a boy in fourth grade who has to deal with the chaos in his life while watching out for his brother who is autistic.
  • Wing & Claw by Linda Sue Park (March 1, 2016) is a series starter. With talking bats.
  • All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor (March 1, 2016) is a book about a boy raised in the correctional facility where his mother is an inmate. Pitched as perfect for fans of Wonder and When You Reach Me.
  • Lauren Myracle has a new book called Wishing Day (May 2016) which sounds like a charming middle grade about the magic of wishing.
  • Front Lines by Michael Grant (January 26, 2016) is the start to a new alternate history series where girl soldiers are on the front lines of World War II.
  • The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig is a debut novel about a girl who can time travel. Pitched as Rae Carson meets Outlander.

MICRO-TREND ALERT: Many time travel novels are coming and I couldn’t be happier about it!

Albert Whitman & Co.:

  • The William Hoy Story by Nancy Churnin, illustrated by Jez Tuya (March 2016) looks awesome. William Hoy was a deaf baseball player who did not get a spot on the local deaf league. So he practiced and played until he became a professional player. Being deaf, Hoy had difficulty following the umpires calls and eventually worked with them to create the hand signals that are still used today. How cool is that?!
  • How Kate Warne Saved President Lincoln by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk, illustrated by Valentina Belloni (March 2016) tells the story of the first female Pinkerton detective and how she saved the president from a failed assassination attempt.
  • Of Better Blood by Susan Moger (February 2016) was blurbed by one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Wein. It’s about a girl who recovers from polio and becomes tangled in the Eugenics movement that swept the US in 1922.

WW Norton & Co:

  • The Big Adventure of a Little Line by Serge Bloch (February 2016) is a story about a boy who finds a line and picks it up without another thought. A story about artistic development.
  • Miro’s Magic Animals by Antony Penrose (April 2016) looks at the famous artist’s work through a child’s eyes.
  • AbZzzz… A Bedtime Alphabet by Isabel Minhos Martins and Yara Kono (May 2016) is a fun bedtime alphabet book.

Harlequin Teen:

  • In Firstlife by Gena Showalter (February 2016) there is, in fact, life after death. And you get to choose where you live.
  • Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun (April 2016) is a standalone high fantasy pitched as “Final Fantasy meets Castle in the Air.”
  • Bestseller Jennifer L. Armentrout is back with The Problem With Forever about a girl in foster care who has been homeschooled but decides to go to public school in her senior year.

After the break for lunch it was time for our second guest speaker. Barnabas Miller talked to the audience about his latest title The Girl With the Wrong Name which sounds absolutely fascinating. The story stems from some very personal inspiration for Miller and after hearing him speak, I cannot wait to read it.

Simon & Schuster:

  • I don’t actually have notes for The Night Gardener by the Fan Brothers (February 2013) but it has three stars on my handout and an owl topiary and magic and I have never needed a picture book so badly in my life.
  • Debut author Amber Smith’s The Way I Used to Be (March 2016) is being likened to Speak and takes place in four parts that span the main character’s four years in high school.
  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson (January 2016) follows a teen boy who must decide if the world is worth saving.
  • Tim Federle makes his YA debut in The Great American Whatever (March 2016) which is being called “laugh out loud sad.”

Check back for Part three later this week!